Tuesday, 04 November 2014 14:56

Reading Rainbow: Making Do


 Reading Rainbow: Making Do

This lesson plan is to be used with the Reading Rainbow episode Uncle Jed's Barber Shop. You can find the entire program and related resources on the Reading Rainbow: Uncle Jed's Barber Shop page.


Pre-K, K, 1, 2

Two 30 minute class periods

Essential Question:
How do people cope when resources are scarce?


Reading Rainbow: Uncle Jed's Barber Shop Program Information

Access to the Internet

Copies of Langston Hughes poems, "Dreams" and "Dream Variations"

Chart paper



This two-part lesson encourages young students to empathize with those who lived during the Great Depression. Students will understand conditions during the Great Depression and how people coped with those conditions.

Day 1
Teacher Preparation: 

  • Write Langston Hughes poems, "Dreams" and "Dream Variations" on chart paper and make individual copies for students. 
  • Consider gestures you can add to “Dream Variations” to help children participate while reading.

Anticipatory Set: Ask students if they’ve ever been told they couldn’t have something because there wasn’t enough money. Students should share personal examples.

Tell children that back in the days of their great-grandparents, there was a depression. Because of the Great Depression, there were very few jobs. Also, banks closed and many people lost all the money they had saved. Many of them had to move from place to place to find work. They were called "migrant workers."

Show photo of Buffalo breadline and explain its purpose.

Show photos of soup line (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, LC-USF34-060600-D DLC b&w film neg.), migrant workers (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, LC-USF33-011989-M3 DLC b&w film nitrate neg.), and choice of others from the Walker Evans Project and America's Story sites.

Tell children that some people who lived during the Depression wrote about the hard times and about how important it was to have a dream. Tell them that Langston Hughes was an African American poet who lived and wrote throughout the Great Depression. Using wall charts, read "Dreams" and "Dream Variations." Ask students to read the poems aloud with you and encourage them to add gestures and motions to the words of the poem. Distribute take-home copies of poems that children may illustrate.

Additional Activity:
Listen to Langston reading "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."

Day 2
Anticipatory Set: Ask students what Langston Hughes’ poems were about. Ask why people who lived during the Depression needed these poems.

Tell children that they’re going to get to see LeVar’s barber giving him a haircut on Reading Rainbow, and that they’ll hear a story about a barber who lived through the Depression.

Students should discuss how the Langston Hughes' poetry about dreams relate to Uncle Jed's dream.

On chart paper, list children’s ideas about things that got in the way of Uncle Jed’s dream and of the things that helped him.

Show photos of barber shops during the Great Depression: Ye Old Barber Shop, Barber and Customer and Sybil's Beauty Salon. Ask “What would it be like if you lived during the Depression and wanted to have a shop like one of these?"

Children should write or dictate stories about themselves as imaginary people living during the Great Depression. They may illustrate their stories using images from the book "Uncle Jed's Barber Shop" by Margaree King Mitchell and/or images from Documenting America and the other websites looked at in this lesson.

Additional activities:
Children explore related resources placed in reading/listening corner, including Hughes’ poetry, children’s stories, pictures and photos posted or available in folders or booklet format.

Students will be assessed based on their ability to:

  • Demonstrate, through speaking and writing, an understanding of how people can “make it,” while overcoming obstacles.
  • View and interpret video and photos within historical context.
  • Participate in poetry reading and interpretation within historical context.


Tuesday, 04 November 2014 13:35

Reading Rainbow Educator Resources


 Reading Rainbow Educator Resources

WNED co-produced the acclaimed Reading Rainbow series, which aired on most PBS stations for 26 years (1983-2009). This upbeat and innovative series, hosted by LeVar Burton, encouraged children to read and develop a love of reading and books. The series was honored with myriad awards, including 26 Emmys. It remains a popular resource in classrooms nationwide. Reading Rainbow, which builds lasting friendships between children and books, is targeted to children 4-8 years old. It's dynamic, fast-paced, magazine-style format amplifies kids experiences by taking them to new places and showing them things they’ve not seen. Find full Reading Rainbow programs, segments, lesson plans, teacher guides, and family activities.


Watch Reading Rainbow: Uncle Jed's Barber Shop

Sara Jean’s Uncle Jed, the only black barber in the county, overcomes many setbacks including the Great Depression of the 1930’s, as he works to save enough money to open his own barbershop. LeVar finds out about making dreams come true with determination and faith, as he talks with The Persuasions, an a cappella quartet.

Companion lesson plans:

Reading Rainbow: Making Do

Reading Rainbow: Achieving Your Dreams


Watch Reading Rainbow: Lemonade for Sale

In this math-based episode, we meet host LeVar Burton on the floor of the stock exchange (under the big board). Featuring a book about the “Elm Street Kids’ Club’s” lemonade stand, the show explores big and small businesses and gives viewers a closer look at the economics of running a business.

Companion lesson plan:

Reading Rainbow: Changing the World One Idea at a Time


Watch Reading Rainbow: Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin (activities on page)

The feature book explores how rhyming, melodies and mathematics help combine sounds of different instruments, making music fun — and fun music. Taking a trip to New York City’s Julliard School of Music, LeVar finds out how orchestra members combine their sounds, and work as a team under the leadership of the conductor. Then STOMP, a percussion performance group, demonstrates how it incorporates creativity, expression, rhythm, dance and self-expression in a team effort that’s very active and entertaining.


Watch Reading Rainbow: Germs Make Me Sick!

Germs Make Me Sick explains what germs are, how bacteria and viruses affect the human body, and how the body fights them. Using a microscope, LeVar discovers what germs really look like and talks to lab scientists about habits that can keep us healthy. A visit to an organic farm illustrates how micro-organisms are important to growing food.

Companion lesson plan:

Reading Rainbow: Is There Such a Thing as a "Good" Microbe?


Watch a segment from Reading Rainbow: Ruth Law Thrills a Nation

This true story describes the record-breaking flight of a daring woman pilot, Ruth Law, from Chicago to New York in 1916. Viewers will see a teenage pilot who takes to the air for the first time, following in the footsteps of the great women who went before her. (This segment of the program is available for download and viewing).

Companion lesson plan:

Reading Rainbow: Freedom to Become



Watch segments from Reading Rainbow: Follow the Drinking Gourd

 Runaway slaves journey north along the Underground Railroad by following directions in a song, “The Drinking Gourd.” Host LeVar Burton celebrates the road to freedom paved by the Underground Railroad, introducing viewers to the history, heroes, stories and music of the African American culture which emerged from slavery. An a cappella group, Sweet Honey In The Rock, perform and share their historical knowledge of slavery.

Companion lesson plan:

Reading Rainbow: The Importance of Storytelling



Check out the PBS KIDS Writers Contest. For over 20 years thousands of kids in grades K-3 have participated in this annual contest. PBS KIDS Writers Contest is the current iteration of the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest that was managed for many years by WNED. PBS KIDS is continuing to support a national writers contest. Find entry forms, rules, educator resources and worksheets on the Contest page.




Monday, 03 November 2014 17:58

Reading Rainbow: Uncle Jed's Barber Shop


 Reading Rainbow: Uncle Jed's Barber Shop

Sara Jean’s Uncle Jed, the only black barber in the county, overcomes many setbacks including the Great Depression of the 1930’s, as he works to save enough money to open his own barbershop. LeVar finds out about making dreams come true with determination and faith, as he talks with The Persuasions, an a cappella quartet. These friends pursued their dream in spite of being told that a singing group without musical instruments didn’t have a chance for success.

You may download the entire 30 minute program including the book segment: Uncle Jed's Barber Shop or specific segments (see links below) with Windows Media Player (for Windows or Mac).

Introduction (2:31): Host LaVar Burton introduces us to his barber.
Feature Book Segment: "Uncle Jed's Barber Shop" by Margaree King Mitchell. Due to copyright restrictions, is available only as part of the entire video (see above).
Music Segment (7:13): The Persuasions, an a capella quartet sing who have been singing together for 33 years, tell how they got started, talk about making music with just their voices and how people didn’t think they could make it but that it was their dream.
Field Trip Segment (6:07): LeVar and his barber talk about how their parents supported them and Erin Alvarez, who wants to be a veterinarian, gets her support from vet Ricka Capovianco.
Book Review Segment (4:24):Discover other great books about making your dreams come true, overcoming obstacles, and multiple cultures.



Curriculum Enrichment Ideas:

Making Do Lesson Plan

This Great Depression-themed two part lesson encourages young students to empathize with those who lived during the Great Depression. Students will understand conditions during the Great Depression and how people coped with those conditions.

Achieving Your Dreams Lesson Plan

Students will write about one of their dreams and commit to that dream for the year (hopefully for longer).

Uncle Jed's Barber Shop Teachers Guide PDF

Uncle Jed's Barber Shop Teachers Guide - Social Studies PDF

Family Activities:
Uncle Jed's Barber Shop Family Activities PDF

Student Activities:
Once I Wanted To...Activity PDF

Famous African American Research Activity PDF

Related Resources:
Feature book: "Uncle Jed's Barber Shop" by Margaree King Mitchell




Tuesday, 28 October 2014 18:01

MHC - Learn More About e-Patient Strategies


 My Health Counts! Learn More About e-Patient Strategies


Dr. Tom Ferguson, founder of epatients.net, coined the term e-patient to describe individuals who are empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled in their health and healthcare decisions.

“We who’ve become e-patients don’t wait for our providers to tell us everything,” Says e-Patient Dave deBronkart. “We get it in gear, we ask questions and we do what we can to help.”

E-patients routinely turn to the internet when a medical need arises. They use it to prepare and follow-up on doctors visits. They use online health resources to supplement and double-check information and guidance their doctors are able offer within the constraints of the typical time-pressured doctor-patient encounter. They go online to explore treatment options their doctors did not mention, to double-check their diagnoses, to learn about complementary treatments, to compare the treatments their doctors suggest with those recommended by other patients at other treatment centers, and to compare their current doctor with other providers.

How do patients differ from e-patients?

Patient                                                           e-Patient

passive role                                                      active (engaged) role

information provided to them                             seek out information (on the internet)

top down delivery of healthcare                          partner in healthcare

paternalistic medicine                                        participatory medicine 

Recognize e-patient activities

1) e-Patients Research Their Condition & Search for Health Information Seventy-three million American adults currently use the Internet to look for information on their health concerns. Four out of five of their online sessions begin with a search engine. Patients give themselves online crash courses on their newly-diagnosed diseases and disorders. They prepare for doctors' appointments, and look up information on the drugs and other treatments that their doctors recommend. They look for new ways to control their weight. But above all, they search for information that might help others. According to a recent Pew Internet & American Life survey, more e-patients search for medical information for friends and family members (81%) than for themselves (58%). E-patients use the internet as a resource, studying up on their own diseases (and those of their friends and loved ones), finding better treatment centers and insisting on better care and increasingly serving as important collaborators and advisors for their health care team.

2) e-Patients Connect With Patient Peers Many e-patients, especially those facing serious medical challenges participate in online support communities for their condition. These online groups, each devoted to a single medical topic (e.g., breast cancer or depression), usually communicate via postings on Web-based forums or electronic mailing lists. Participants share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and ask and reply to questions. Group members share their personal stories and experiences. They also exchange information on medical studies and clinical trials, discuss current treatment options, recommend treatment centers and professionals with special expertise in the shared condition and provide emotional support. The members of some Internet support communities organize themselves into online work groups, reviewing the medical literature on their disorder and providing lists of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the newly diagnosed. Some online support groups conduct informal research on their shared concerns. And a few have developed and carried out their own formal research studies-or have partnered with professional researchers to conduct medical research, with group members serving as research subjects.

3) e-Patients Read and Share Health Data Online E-patients actively engage with their medical records, keeping track of everything from test results to diagnosis and doctor’s visits. Then they reach out to those they know and love, reporting on their health problems and concerns, and seeking information, advice, and support from their personal network of friends and family members. They refer e-patients to "second-level" contacts, e.g., another friend who knows about their concern. Friends and family members who have some medical background and knowledge are especially helpful.

4) e-Patients Create Their Own Support Network Many e-patients find important emotional support through online communities. People facing a serious medical condition often find it difficult and time consuming to communicate with family and friends.  Online sites like Caring Bridge allow patients to create a personal, protected site where they can connect, share news and receive support during a health event.

Emerging e-patient activities:

  • 47% of adults have used the internet to get information about doctors or other health professionals
  • 41% have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group or blog
  • 38% have gotten information about hospitals
  • 33% have gotten information about how to lose or control their weight
  • 27% have gotten information about health insurance
  • 24% have consulted rankings or reviews online of hospitals
  • 12% have gotten information about how to stay healthy on an overseas trip
  • 24% have consulted rankings or reviews of doctors 19% have signed up to receive updates about health or medical issues
  • 13% have listened to a podcast about health or medical issues
  • 5% have reviewed a doctor
  • 4% have reviewed a hospital

* Data extracted from the Pew Internet and Life Project Report

Technology is rapidly changing the landscape of health and healthcare.

Increased access to the internet at home and on portable devices from tablets to smart phones has given people access to information and each other in ways never before imagined.

Today an increasing number of people use online resources, including social networks, as significant sources of health information. The revolution in health information is having a profound impact on how patients and physicians interact.

The following reports chronicle the growing online health care revolution--

Mobile Health 2012 (November 8, 2012): Smartphones expand Internet access and enable software applications, key functionalities that give consumers access to health information wherever and whenever they need it.

Family Caregivers Online (July 12, 2012): This report finds that eight in ten caregivers (79%) have access to the Internet. Of these, 88% look online for health information, outpacing other Internet users on every surveyed health topic.

The Social Life of Health Information, 2011 (May 12, 2011): The Internet has changed people's relationships with information. This report shows that online resources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information in the United States.

Peer-to-peer Healthcare (February 28, 2011): Many Americans turn to friends and family for support and advice when they have a health problem. This report shows how people's networks are expanding to include online peers, particularly in the crucible of rare disease.

Health Topics (February 1, 2011): Symptoms and treatments continue to dominate Internet users' health searches. Food safety, drug safety, and pregnancy information are among eight new topics explored in this report.

Chronic Disease and the Internet (March 24, 2010): US adults living with chronic disease are significantly less likely than healthy adults to have access to the Internet (62% vs. 81%). However, this report reveals that once online, having a chronic disease increases the probability that an individual will take advantage of social media to share what they know and learn from their peers.

Meet some e-Patients

e-Patient Dave deBronkart (@ePatientDave): Dave  A high tech executive and online community leader for many years, Dave was diagnosed in 2007 with Stage IV kidney cancer, with median survival 24 weeks. He used the internet every way possible to partner with his care team; today he is well and has become a leading spokesperson for the e-patient movement. Read his healthcare blog “The New Life of e-Patient Dave”. He also blogs for the Society for Participatory Medicine at e-patients.net.

Lygeia Ricciardi (@Lygeia): Ricciardi helped her newborn daughter--who was born with a hole in her heart--avoid a life-threatening surgery by using all of the IT tools at her disposal and being a fully engaged parent. She serves as a senior policy advisor for consumer e-health at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), and also is the founder of Clear-Voice Consulting, which focuses on improving healthcare through technology from a consumer point of view.

Regina Holliday (@ReginaHolliday): After a series of hospitalizations, Holliday's husband Frederick passed away due to kidney cancer in 2009. Since then, through Twitter and her medical advocacy blog, Holliday pushes for patients to be as active as possible in their own care and the care of their loved ones. She also pushes for clarity and transparency in medical records, particularly through her renowned series of murals. Holliday began the patient advocacy movement known as "The Walking Gallery," in which people from all walks of life wear patient-centered care paintings on the back of business suits, jackets and other attire.

Virna Elly (@VirnaElly): Elly, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 8, refers to herself as a professional patient. She currently blogs on "Patient's Perspective."

Kari Ulrich (@FMDGirl): Ulrich, who in April 2007 was diagnosed with brain aneurysms and a rare vascular disease known as fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), also preaches the benefits of SPM. Ulrich, a registered nurse, also runs the Fibromuscular Dysplasia blog.

Donna Cryer (@DCPatient): After a liver transplant due to autoimmune conditions, Cryer experienced all of the highs and lows that the healthcare system has to offer. Now, Cryer serves as a patient advocate through her company, CryerHealth, which promotes the premise that patients should drive their own healthcare.

Trisha Torrey (@TrishaTorrey): Told she had a rare and aggressive lymphoma and had only months to live without chemo, she instead used her wits and chutzpah to prove the two confirming reviews of her biopsy were — wrong. Today Trisha is “Every Patients Advocate”-- a spokesperson for patient advocacy and patient empowerment. You can read her newspaper columns, or her patient empowerment site at About.com





 My Health Counts! Learn More About Peer-to-Peer Healthcare


Peer-to-peer healthcare acknowledges that patients and caregivers know things — about themselves, about each other, about treatments — and they want to share what they know to help other people. Technology helps to surface and organize that knowledge to make it useful for as many people as possible. The Pew Internet Project has collected the data that proves this as a concept. The Pew Internet Project is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization in Washington, DC which studies the social impact of the internet.

It’s not surprising that when someone gets sick, they grab their phones, they grab their laptops, they grab their loved ones, and they go. They go into that unfamiliar area of a new diagnosis, a new drug, a new treatment. They consult experts. They call and search and text. They band together and share a wealth of information from peers to supplement the wealth of information from specialists.

Just like peer to peer file sharing transformed the music industry by allowing people to share songs, peer-to-peer healthcare has the potential to transform the pursuit of health by allowing people to share what they know.

It is the confluence of two powerful forces:

  • our ancient instinct to seek and share advice about our health
  • our new found ability to do so at internet speed and at internet scale.

The bottom line is that the internet does not replace health professionals. Pew Internet’s research consistently shows that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, but online resources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information in the U.S.

Peer-to-peer healthcare is a way for people to do what they have always done – lend a hand, lend an ear, lend advice – but at internet speed and at internet scale. It’s the evolution of internet use that the Pew Internet Project has been tracking in other industries, and it’s just finally having an impact on health care.

As broadband and mobile access spreads, more people have the ability – and increasingly, the habit – of sharing what they are doing or thinking. In health care this translates to people tracking their workout routines, posting reviews of their medical treatments, and raising awareness about certain health conditions.

Pew Internet research shows that one in five internet users have gone online to find others who might have health concerns similar to theirs.

That percentage is even higher – 1 in 4 – among those living with chronic disease, those who are caring for a loved one, and those who have experienced a significant change in their physical health, such as weight loss or gain, pregnancy, or quitting smoking.

All of these groups are also more likely to use social networking sites like Facebook to gather health information and to follow their friends’ health updates on the sites.

The tools are in place. The culture is shifting to expect that people have access to information and each other. There is mounting evidence that connecting patients with each other and with their data can have a positive effect on health outcomes.

But we are still at the early adoption stages.